The following press release was issued by the Festival Management Group on 11th May 2015
[START]It is with regret that after seven years, organizers have decided to wind down Beccles Festival. Despite the disappointment, the committee are pleased to announce that the Festival’s outstanding funds will be donated to Beccles Public Hall, thus making an ongoing contribution to Beccles’ thriving arts scene.
Beccles Festival of Music and the Arts was founded by the Rev. John Beauchamp in 2007 and has been enormously successful in attracting first rate names from the musical world, including the London Mozart Players, the Choir of King’s College Cambridge, Clare Teal and Jacqui Dankworth among many others. It has also presented art exhibitions, spoken word events, many imaginative workshops and events for schools, plus the ever-popular Festival Chorus and Festival Orchestra. The objective was always to keep ticket prices as affordable as possible, and everyone was able to enjoy fine music at the Festival Service and other free events.
Nevertheless, audience numbers fell sharply in 2012 and after a year off, a new format was introduced for 2014, spreading the festival over the year in three themed weekends. The change proved successful, but meant that the work of the small organising committee extended throughout the year. There is also fierce competition now from the numerous other festivals held in the area, from Norwich to Halesworth and Bungay to Blythburgh and the planning group have decided that it is time for the Beccles Festival to leave the stage to others.
The Festival is a registered Charity and the organisers wish to donate their remaining funds to another charitable organisation with similar aims. With that in mind, they have chosen the Beccles Public Hall as the beneficiary. They would also like to express sincere and special thanks to Elgar Howarth who has been a loyal and generous contributor to the Festival throughout its existence.
The organisers would like to thank all those who have supported us over the years.
A message to everyone who supported the Beccles Festival 2014
Many thanks to all of you who attended Beccles Festival events this year, and special thanks for supporting our fund-raising events so enthusiastically. It was good too to get positive feedback about the new format for 2014, with three themed weekends spread over the year.
Everyone will have their own special memories of course, but for me the highlights were the concerts involving local musicians from the community: the rousing Festival Concert Band & String Orchestra performances, the stunning quality of playing and singing from the Waveney Young Musicians and the enthusiasm of the 100 strong Festival Chorus.
Presenting a Festival like this - and raising the funds to do so - involves a phenomenal amount of work and I would personally like to thank the Festival team, all volunteers, for their commitment, perserverance and cheerful support. A very special thanks is reserved for the generosity of individuals and organizations, just a few of whom are listed below, who were an essential part of the festival this year, and without whom it could not have happened.
Finally a special thanks to those individuals and organisations who helped the Group in putting together this year's Festival: Edge Computer Solutions SirJohn Leman High School and the staff at all our our other venues; among many others Elgar Howarth, Julia Gooding, Vetta Wise, Joe Knight and Frankie, Philip Thorby and all their friends and assistants, coaching from the Kingfisher Sinfonietta and of course Councillor Bee for his generous donation; on the technical side Jim Laws (lighting), Dan Simmons (web design and maintenance) and Andy Mackney (web management).
We are indebted to all the artists involved and above all we express our gratitude to you, the public, for your loyal support.
Eunice Simpkins (chairman)
on behalf of the Beccles Festival Management Group:
with fond memories of Ian Bauers who put so much into the Festival before his untimely passing in November 2013.